January 15, 2015

Tough doubleheader awaits squad following Wash U upset

To begin this year’s conference play, the Maroons took on an undefeated Wash U squad at home, starting a stretch of 14 UAA games to finish out the regular season.

Chicago (6–6, 0–1 UAA) fell to the Bears (12–0, 1–0) by a score of 65–52, snapping a three-game winning streak. The South Siders had won five of their last seven games prior to the loss.

Early in the first half, the Maroons battled to stay within striking distance. Almost three minutes into play, first-year Elizabeth Nye managed to steal the ball from Wash U’s Alyssa Johanson.  The possession ended successfully for Chicago as fourth-year Morgan Donovan passed the ball to second-year Britta Nordstrom, who made the layup to knot the game up early at four.

“My teammates put me in positions where I was able to be successful with my shot, whether it was from their passes or on their drives that occupied multiple players,” said Nordstrom, who scored eight points, going 4–6 from the field.

The four-point tie would be the closest Chicago would get to the Bears, as they found themselves 32–23, a nine-point deficit, after 20 minutes of play.

“Wash U is always a very disciplined team, and they scout us extremely well,” fourth-year Ellie Greiner said. “I think this gave them the ability to predict our passes and decisions, and we didn’t adjust well enough to get the easy shots we normally do on offense.”

Nevertheless, Greiner made four of six shots behind the arc, and she racked up 14 points and three rebounds on the day.

“We were definitely excited to come out and play them, as we feel that we have something to prove,” said Nordstrom. “We wanted to show that we are a much better team than our record shows.”

There were added emotions among the team leading up to the game.

“Our entire team was extremely pumped up for this game. Wash U is always our biggest rival, and their solid pre-conference record only increased our sense of urgency in practice and workouts leading up to the game,” Greiner said.  “Unfortunately, this excitement showed itself in nerves,  which led us into some poor decisions.”

At the same time, the team went through its same structured preparation as always to prevent opponents from capitalizing on avoidable mistakes.

“We knew it was a big game, but we prepared for this game the same as any other by watching film and learning their personnel,” Nye said. “We prepared our defense for their offense, so a lot of times it was just knowing where the ball was [going to] be and being in the right place at the right time.”

This strategy worked well for Nye as she managed to accumulate four steals, seven points, and one assist over the course of the game. Nye also attributed her defensive prowess to the pressure her teammates put on the Bears’ offense, which she believes led to poor Wash U passes.

“We definitely learned that we can play with one of the best teams in the country. But we also learned that we have to do the big things, like rebounding and making good passes in order to do that. But those are things that we have in our control, so that’s definitely a positive,” Nordstrom said.

The Maroons’ next game is a home matchup this Friday against Rochester at 6:30 p.m.